I dream of us across the centuries.
I dream we stagger through the Gobi, the Mongols driving us forth with whips.
I dream of sixteen concubines, plotting to murder the sadistic Emperor Jiajing.
I dream of the Sorceress Wu lowering the blade, her cheeks splattered with your blood.
I dream of you as a teenage Red Guard, rampaging through the streets of Beijing.
I am your soulmate, Driver Wang and now I dream of you.
You don’t know it yet, but soon I will make you dream of me…
It’s unfair to Sue that she is a friend, because it makes the weight of my recommendation so much lighter. But I stand on it, this book is relentlessly amazing, a book specifically for people who love books. If there were a secret club governed by David Mitchell and Salman Rushdie, where the members all got to wear funny hats and eat laboriously prepared (and surprisingly un-British-tasting) food, while discussing arcane bits of history and magic and superstition…Susan would be the treasurer.
Last year’s fiction Pulitzer winner, Adam Johnson, called it “the most extraordinary work of imagination you’ll read all year.”
Really though. All year.